Lenny Sass is the owner and co-founder of Rainbow Movers. We thought it would be interesting to ask him how moving has changed in the city since he first started the business in 1978.
When my wife and I started Rainbow Movers in 1978, we were charging $12 an hour for myself and our truck, and she ran the office while taking care of two, then three kids. You could rent an apartment on 2nd Avenue and 10th Street in an elevator/doorman building for $300 a month. Since then, the company has grown, added services and staff, and moved thousands of people and their possessions into new homes. And that same East Village apartment is now going for $3,000 a month. Some things have changed dramatically, and some haven’t really changed at all.
For one thing, dealing with our trucks is a lot different today. The bike and bus lanes limit the places we can park, so we are much more exposed to parking tickets. There are a lot more taxis and limos these days. It’s great for people who want to find a cab, but look down any avenue and imagine the space if the yellow vehicles were not there. We need them, but we’ve had to crowd ourselves for the convenience.
People were moving into some pretty gritty spaces thirty years ago, huge old loft buildings where we had to pull on a cable to move the elevators up and down. There were more walk-up buildings then too. Many of them have now been replaced with skyscrapers, and we live in their shadows: less sunblock required, but less natural vitamin D as well. Another trade off.
One definite improvement is there is less pollution in the city today. The environmental regulations and improvements to furnaces are working. The soot on windowsills (and windshields) takes longer to accumulate. And less people are smoking, so our lungs are cleaner. The city is safer too. We still see front doors with three or more locks on them, but they are usually a throw back to when they were really necessary.
Even though Americans are larger than ever today, furniture is still furniture. In the 1970’s, we would still see the occasional large parlor piece from the 1940’s and ‘50’s, inherited from parents and grandparents. Things have certainly changed with the designs of the day. TV’s today are flatter and bigger, and furniture to hold them has changed as well. We also see more IKEA type furniture that people assemble out of the box, but those are not usually passed on from generation to generation. Audio systems now fit in your pocket. But until everything else is digitized, we will be helping people move it.
Things will always be changing, people will continue to want new spaces for themselves, and we will continue to help move their belongings. The one thing that hasn’t changed is that we still do our best to eliminate the stresses that can be part of the process.
Every day might as well be the sweet spot between yesterday and tomorrow.